Amazing glimpse of African-American life during the Great Depression.
This film acknowledges the fact that African-Americans were
disproportionately unemployed. There are scenes of forward-looking programs
of housing renovation and public works in Harlem, as well as pre-school and
adult education. However, there are also some painful scenes in which
African-American women - "girls" - are being trained as cooks and maids, or
being taught child care with white dolls.
05:11:50:00 med shot of African-American man sitting on pavement, head on
VO - "Only a few years ago..."
05:11:52:00 MCU of African-American man sitting in front of brick wall
VO - "...we were a discouraged people."
05:11:53:00 MCU of older African American man reading newspaper on front
VO - "Because we were the first to lose our jobs...
05:11:55:00 MCU of another older African American man sitting on steps,
VO - "...when old man depression came along, and the last..."
05:11:57:00 med wide shot of African American man sitting on front stoop,
older African American woman watching him, going inside doorway
VO - "...to get them back, we struggled vainly..."
05:11:59:00 MCU of several young African American men reading newspaper
VO - "...to regain our bearings while depression,..."
05:12:01:00 MCU of African American man lighting cigarette
VO - "... fear, and failure stalked the nation."
05:12:03:00 MCU of young African American man carving piece of wood with
VO - "A tenth of the population..."
05:12:05:00 med shot of two African-American men seated at campfire -
VO - "... of the United States, we formed as a race..."
05:12:07:00 med shot of two African-American men seated on steps
VO - "...over a sixth of the unemployed."
05:12:09:00 med wide shot of African-American woman seated on stoop with
head in hands
VO - "One in four of us was on relief."
05:17:27:00 med shot of kitchen - three African-American women working as
VO - "As part of the program of rehabilitation..."
05:17:30:00 MCU of one cook’s hands making cookie/tea cake
VO - "...and the conservation of human resources, a number of household
training schools have been established by WPA. In these schools, girls from
relief families are prepared for domestic work which will make them
self-supporting. Others take the course to learn the arts of homemaking..."
05:17:44:00 med shot of African-American women working in institutional
VO - "...for use in their own homes. In modern kitchens under competent
05:17:47:00 MCU of woman’s hand preparing food
VO - "...the girls are taught to cook and to prepare salads and other
delicacies which add much to everyday meals."
05:17:53:00 med shot of woman taking sheet of cookies from oven
05:18:00:00 med wide shot of African-American women in maid’s uniforms
VO - "Here’s where you may be able to learn something: this is the way the
girls are taught to make..."
05:18:05:00 MCU of woman’s hands tucking in corners of sheet
VO - "...beds, an art which [sound problem]"
05:18:11:00 med shot of African-American woman in maid outfit fluffing huge
white pillows, making bed
VO - "These household training courses have already sent hundreds of girls
out into the world well able to secure domestic positions and able to
command skilled workers’ wages."
05:18:22:00 med shot of African-American nurse with white baby doll showing
two young African-American woman how to hold a baby
VO - "Health education is an important part of the WPA program. At a number
of health centers in large cities, qualified instructors..."(05:18:29:00)
05:18:30:00 MCU of African-American nurse’s hands caring for white baby doll
VO - "...teach groups of women first aid methods and the proper care of